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Being bullied for your sexuality is something none of us should have to experience. Last month, Alexander Kargaltsev, a 32-year-old Russian, told LADbible why he had to flee his country to live in America, after being beaten, and even tasered, for being gay.

America is known as the land of the free. In 2015, the Supreme Court ruled that same sex marriage was legal.

Yet, thanks to small narrow-mindedness of some people, admitting you're gay can still be an issue.

Julia, who had even moved to another country to avoid her bullies, suffered at the hands of bullies and,took her own life in 2015.

Credit: Facebook

Her dad, Adrian Derbyshire, is now backing the campaign #Pledge2Talk which urges parents to talk to their children about cyberbullying.

Julia's bullying began at the age of 11, when she moved from the UK to Missouri, US, with her mum .

He said: "Aged 11, Julia said to her best friend: 'Listen, I think I might like girls. I may have feelings towards girls,' and her friend started to tell people.

"As a result, Julia suffered a lot of abuse in a school and in the community and crucially at home via a variety of social networks. It was stuff about her sexuality like 'god hates you' and 'god hates gay people' and 'burn in hell'.

"It was from a religious community back in Missouri but it had spread and they were just hating and hating. As a result, she soon developed mental health issues relating to self-esteem."

Adrian received a letter from social services telling him that his daughter had starting self-harming when Julia was just 13.

Credit: Facebook

After 10 months, both parents agreed that it would be best that she returned to the UK to live with Adrian, a former Paralympian, in the hope that the cyberbullying would stop.

"I said to her, it's a fresh start and she must have new social media profiles. It was about making new friends and a new life, which she did," said Adrian.

"She really got her confidence back and I felt that she started to love herself for who she was.

"She was having counselling once a week to help improve her self-esteem and she was doing so well."

Over the next two years, Julia got her first job at Starbucks and worked towards her goals of becoming a political journalist.

But, at the same time, Julia had been revisiting her old social media accounts, where the abuse had carried on.

"The only incident I was aware of while she was alive was that she wrote online that she'd spent the weekend having a Harry Potter movie marathon and came to me upset," Adrian said.

She had received further 'burn in hell' comments for being both her sexuality and being into witchcraft.

Julia took her life by hanging herself in her bedroom, and despite Adrian's best efforts of performing CPR where she was resuscitated, she was left 'brain dead'.

After five days, the decision was taken to turn off her life support machine.

Credit: Facebook

Adrian added: "The lack of oxygen to her brain meant she would have had no meaningful life. The effects of hate and anonymous bullying led to mental health, which led to suicide."

He released pictures of his daughter just half-an-hour before the support was stopped, and had over 11,000 messages of support from children.

"Bullying can happen anywhere and can happen to anyone. It can happen to children in their living room, while you're 5,000 miles away on a family holiday, it's a worldwide epidemic.

"And parents need to talk about it, they need to educate themselves about it and be aware of the dangers and being web savvy.

"The internet is a fabulous, incredible place - it allowed me to speak to Julia weekly while she was in the US.

"But I'd urge all parents top get involved in what their children are doing online and make sure they're safe."

'U OK M8?' is an initiative from LADbible in partnership with a range of mental health charities which features a series of films and stories to raise awareness of mental health.

Explore more here and don't suffer in silence. Reach out. It's the brave thing to do.

MIND: 0300 123 3393.

Samaritans: 116 123.

CALM: Outside London 0808 802 5858, inside London 0800 58 58 58.

Mental Health Foundation

Featured Image Credit: Facebook

Michael Minay

Mike Minay is a trending journalist at LADbible. He’s co-ordinated interviews with some of the big names from the world of news and sport including ITV’s Robert Peston, Sky Sports’ Jeff Stelling and darts champion Michael van Gerwen. His reporting days began on University radio in Birmingham, before moving to BBC Sport Online – creating content for large events such as Wimbledon and the FA Cup final. Mike still commentates on Football League matches at the weekend. A Manchester LAD at heart.

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